Of salt and humility

Of salt and humility

Of little Children. Our duties towards them.

(The Gospel History, Section 75)

Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another.

Of salt and humility

(The Saviour of the World, Vol IV Book IV Poem LXX)

Have salt within you, friends,—the truth of God
Which sweetens and keeps sweet the flesh of men;
But, hark ye, salt may lose its proper savour:
Beware, lest so ye bandy words of Mine
In common speech, each man to prove his point,
That, though the word be true, it has ceased to mean
Or good or evil for the man who speaks!
Ye shall not speak or think the words of life
But with due reverence; with soul convinced—
Heart, mind, and tongue—that by these very words
The man who hears shall live: nor think to pass
That salt to others is as dust in your mouth:
Have salt, I say, in yourselves; and should the Truth
Be to your taste stale, flat, and profitless,—
Have salt, I say, again: God shall replenish,
Add truth to truth till ye shall live thereby:
But offer no man as his salt of life
Truth that hath lost its savour in your mouth:
How season salt that hath its saltness lost?

‘Whereby,’ say ye, ‘shall we know if we have salt?’
The man whose life lacks savour fretful grows,
Sees hindrances in comrades of the way,
This man and that annoys him, trespasses;
Then is he angry, chides, says scornful words
His fellow resents; and, sore, they take their way,
Still side by side, with enmity at heart!
What ails the poor man, miserable, that he
Goes vexed and vexing neighbour, that he breaks
That vessel delicate—a household’s peace?
The truth hath lost its savour on his tongue;
Forgets he his poor part and the grace benign
That takes him, a worm and no man, and exalts
Till, as one sees far set on a mountain’s crest,
So he discerns—the lineaments of God!
Thought he on these things, how should he resent
The little slights, offences, that befall?
Would ye be certain that ye keep the salt
Which shall preserve you to eternal life?
Ask,—”Do I dwell at peace with every man,
For God is good, and I—of small account,
And,—is there a man who is not more than I?”


St. Mark ix, 50.